A potential shortage of mainland European workers in the U.K. awaits the country’s logistics operators, as Brexit inches closer to reality.
Until now, there is uncertainty on how British companies can address this concern. The issue involves European Economic Area (EEA) worker status, which would dictate the future of the industry’s workforce. The UK Freight Transport Association (FTA) has urged the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to hasten the process of providing clarification.
Sally Gilson, FTA head of skills, said that uncertainty poses a threat to an uninterrupted supply chain network in the U.K. Gilson said that the British government should already review MAC’s report and decide on the future status of EEA workers.
Aside from a likely shortfall of European workers, companies should also take note of other problems such as delayed shipments. An automatic unloading system, for instance, saves precious time for an operator’s process flow. While automatic systems are beneficial to a company’s operations, the U.K. should make sure to prevent a hard Brexit.
If the country fails to implement a smooth transition from the EU, it could derail freight operations along British borders after 2020. This disruption would affect not only the country but also its trading partners and neighbouring countries, according to FTA head of UK policy Christopher Snelling.
For instance, some FTA member companies cross the border between the U.K. and France as much as five times daily. A hard Brexit could mean longer border inspection for non-EU freight carriers. The EU currently accounts for around half of the U.K.’s trading business, which only means that there is a need to avoid a significant disruption along international freight networks.
The freight industry serves an important role in the U.K. economy and job growth, so Brexit needs to happen with as few negative implications as possible.